Manchin: House impeachment plan ‘ill-advised’
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said on Monday that a House plan to vote this week to impeach President Trump is “ill-advised,” warning that there aren’t the votes in the Senate to convict the president.
“I think this is so ill-advised for Joe Biden to be coming in, trying to heal the country, trying to be the president of all the people when we are going to be so divided and fighting again. Let the judicial system do its job,” said Manchin, who represents a state where Trump is very popular.
Manchin added that he did not believe there would be the support in the Senate to meet the two-thirds vote required to convict Trump. He indicated that he had been trying to convey that message to the House amid its discussions about the path forward following last week’s attack on the Capitol.
“We’ve been trying to send that message over. They know the votes aren’t there,” Manchin said.
A spokesperson for Manchin didn’t immediately respond to a question about any conversations he or other senators have had about the House’s impeachment efforts.
House Democrats appear poised to impeach Trump for a second time on Wednesday after supporters of the president breached the Capitol, including entering both the House and Senate chambers, forcing Vice President Pence and lawmakers to suspend counting the Electoral College votes.
The event led to the death of five people, including a Capitol Police officer. People in the mob voiced threats against Pence and members of Congress.
House Democrats haven’t yet decided if they will send the article over to the Senate immediately, a move that would trigger a trial.
Because the Senate is out of session until Jan. 19, the proceedings likely wouldn’t start until after Biden is sworn in, sparking concerns that it could bog down his agenda just as his administration is trying to get off the ground. The Senate could speed up its start time if every senator signed off, but Trump’s conservative allies are unlikely to allow that to happen.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters that his preference was to send impeachment articles to the Senate immediately, while Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.), the No. 3 House Democrat, floated delaying any articles of impeachment in order to give the Senate time to confirm members of Biden’s Cabinet and enact other legislative priorities such as coronavirus relief.
The House is expected to vote on one article, drafted by Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), that states Trump engaged in high crimes and misdemeanors by “willfully inciting violence against the Government of the United States.”
Manchin said he believed Congress could move forward with impeachment after Trump has left office — a question sparking debate in the legal community — and that there was “no rush to do this now.” Instead, Manchin said investigations should play out and Congress could circle back to impeachment.
“This impeachment doesn’t help anything. … It makes no sense whatsoever,” Manchin said.
Biden and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) have separately floated trying to divide the chamber’s time between taking up nominees and passing legislation and holding an impeachment trial.
But Manchin warned that “it doesn’t work that way.”
“Joe Biden should want us to put a government together,” he added.